Thursday, April 10, 2008
Guess the Plot
Santa Fe: Holy Faith
1. Unemployed lawyer Amy Trimble is taking on the entire state of New Mexico. Armed with a Spanish-English pocket dictionary, she's suing every municipality that refuses to change its name to something secular. She wasn't counting on falling in love with Hollis Roller, Santa Fe's most eligible bachelor and part-time preacher. Will the First Amendment fall to the Bible, or will Hollis be the one to convert?
2. In the year 2093, nuclear war has destroyed half the landmass of the Earth. In the far southwest, civilization begins to return in the form on Monks on horseback delivering mail, a new pony express for the 22nd century based in the literary consciousness of librarian monks.
3. A monk traveling with Coronado hopes to convert the heathen Indians to Catholicism. Newly introduced to Spanish and the Catholic faith, the Indians mistake the term "Santa Fe" to mean Holy Sh*t and, incensed, kill the monk for committing apostasy.
4. Shaman Joe Elkbootie starts preaching that early Christian missionaries were too gentle in their California assimilation efforts. Soon he's dodging angry mobs, tomahawks, and a few poison darts from outraged indigenous tribes elsewhere. Can he win enough converts to protect him from his tribal elders’ pressing invitation to a roast?
5. In New Mexico, when a young man addicted to gambling, debauchery and bloodsports finds himself having sex with a fourteen-year-old Mexican girl, he decides it's time to turn over a new leaf, maybe even get religion . . . starting tomorrow.
6. On the eve of America's conquest of New Mexico, a 19th-century trader and his partner team up with a Franciscan monk and open a chain of general stores/churches along the Santa Fe trail. Can they turn the badlands into a Holyland . . . and make a profit?
Dear Ms. Agent:
What’s playing on your iPOD? ["That's When You Lost Me," by Craig Carothers.]
SANTA FE: HOLY FAITH is the second book of a series about the American conquest of New Mexico in 1846. [Is this still going on? How long can it possibly take to conquer New Mexico?] It is the story of three men who try to build a future while the Mexican government slides into ruin. The novel is character-based historical fiction, 90,000 words in length.
Kincaid, a young American entrepreneur in the Santa Fe trade, descends into depravity after Maria, the daughter of one of his partners, betrays him. Kincaid engages in drunkenness, debauchery, gambling, and blood sports until an historical figure, Manuel Armijo, [Historical to Kincaid or to you? To me he's just an anagram for jaguar lo mein, a staple of the diet of the Chinese working on the Transcontinental Railroad.] a corrupt, wealthy landowner, proposes a monopoly using Kincaid’s connections in trading and Armijo’s control of the Rio Grande Valley from Santa Fe to El Paso. Joe, a black American freed from slavery by Kincaid, accompanies Kincaid to Armijo’s hacienda in hopes of keeping Kincaid from debasing himself more. Armijo’s wife, who in actual fact, procured young girls for her husband, provides Kincaid with a fourteen year-old peon girl by promising her family freedom from the hacienda. Kincaid struggles with the moral dilemma, but eventually deflowers the girl. [It's not clear what the wife's motivation is. What does she care if Kincaid deflowers the girl?] Shamed by Joe and his own conscience, Kincaid helps the girl and her family escape to Navajos, [Escape? They were promised their freedom.] where many slaves of New Mexicans sought refuge. This act of redemption costs Kincaid dearly by making the Armijos bitter enemies.
Kincaid reestablishes his trading business on the Santa Fe Trail with his partners, Joe and Manuel (the father of Maria). [Kincaid's partner and his enemy have the same first name? Can't you call one of them Kam Fong?] As they continue their business they are affected by the abolition of Mexico’s enlightened constitution which prohibited slavery and limited the power of wealthy owners of haciendas. They struggle with taxes imposed on traders and regulations which require foreign businesses to take Mexican partners. The government’s actions affect disadvantaged citizens as well. [They struggle with taxes and government regulations? Are you trying to put us to sleep?] Eventually the pueblo Indians and peasants in northern New Mexico revolt. Kincaid and his partners are sympathetic to the rebels and aid them with supplies. The rebels capture Santa Fe and kill the Mexican governor. Threatened by the revolt, Armijo organizes a militia to retake the capital. On the eve of the battle, Armijo panics and hides from the fighting, but his troops defeat the revolutionaries. He proclaims his success to Mexico City, and the Mexican government appoints him governor. He uses his newfound power to punish Kincaid, crushing his business and causing him to flee to St. Louis. Kincaid vows to return.
Too much detail. Remove everything except the sex, violence, depravity and blood sports.
Is it a good idea to have your main character hitting the sheets with a fourteen-year-old? At least tell me she's fourteen, going on fifteen.
As I understand the slave owner/slave relationship, the slave is supposed to do what the slave owner orders, even if the slave owner doesn't promise to grant the slave's family their freedom. Promising freedom and then reneging isn't worth the bitterness it will inspire.
It sounds to me like this book is Kincaid versus Armijo.
1. They agree to work as partners.
2. Kincaid helps some of Armijo's slaves to escape, ending the partnership.
3. Kincaid resumes his trading enterprises.
4. Rebels take Santa Fe.
5. Armijo takes it back, becomes governor, ruins Kincaid.
Skip the 14-yr.-old, the taxes and other red tape. It was too long anyway.
If the first book does well enough to warrant a sequel, you'll be selling this to the same publisher, so you won't need to tell us who Joe is, or who Kincaid is, or what happened so far.